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Title: Eating Clean: Using Nutrition, Environmental Sustainability, and Personal Preference to Create an Ideal Diet Plan
Authors: Campeau, Michelle
Advisors: Vanderbei, Robert
Department: Operations Research and Financial Engineering
Certificate Program: Applications of Computing Program
Class Year: 2019
Abstract: Despite growing apprehension over the food system's impact on climate change, consumers are confused as to how to ideally modify their dietary choices to mitigate this global concern, while consuming a healthy and palatable diet. This study scientifically and algorithmically defined the optimal human diet based on three criteria: environmental sustainability, nutritional adequacy, and personal preference. Measurements of general sustainability and the impact of different environmental factors on climate change were used as weighted variables. Greenhouse gas emissions, water footprint, consumer waste, and food miles were the primary factors incorporated. Nutritional adequacy was assessed using USDA guidelines for macro- and micro- nutrients, with specific attention given to how processing of nutrients in the human body should impact optimization constraints. In addition to allergies, personal preferences, including intolerances, health-related dietary restrictions, and individual likes/dislikes regarding food may be incorporated into the optimization frameworks. Optimization was performed using linear programming. Two optimization approaches were applied, one based on individual food items and the second using recipes. The resulting diet plans were a weighted list of food items and recipes, respectively, representing what an average person may expect to make and consume. These two methods were compared; the recipe-based approach was found to produce a more realistic result in terms of acceptability for home cooking. Additionally, using recipe-based optimization, preparation and cooking time are able to be constrained and varied, delivering optimal plans for end-users with differing amounts of time available to prepare food. The developed science-based dietary optimization framework provides accessible results in the easy-to-use format of recipes. This tool could be used as the basis for formal implementation of dietary reform to promote sustainability.
Access Restrictions: Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Operations Research and Financial Engineering, 2000-2020

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